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Prosecuting Homicide

Murder and manslaughter are two of the offences that constitute homicide.

Manslaughter can be committed in one of three ways:

  1. killing with the intent for murder but where there is provocation, diminished responsibility or a suicide pact.
  2. conduct that was grossly negligent given the risk of death, and resulted in death.
  3. conduct, taking the form of an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm, that caused death.

With some exceptions, the crime of murder is committed, where a person:

  • of sound mind and discretion (i.e. sane):
  • unlawfully kills (i.e. not self-defence or other justified killing)
  • any reasonable creature (human being)
  • in being (born alive and breathing through its own lungs)
  • under the Queen's Peace
  • with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

There are other specific homicide offences, for example, infanticide, causing death by dangerous driving, and corporate manslaughter.

Find out more about prosecuting homicide

Barry George acquitted of murder of Jill Dando: CPS statement


A jury at the Central Criminal Court today found Barry George not guilty of the murder of Jill Dando, following a retrial.

CPS reviewing lawyer Hilary Bradfield said: "We would like to thank the jury for their consideration of our evidence and attention during this trial. We would also like to thank the witnesses who were obliged to give evidence for a second time and those new witnesses who came forward during the trial.

"Mr George now has the right be regarded as an innocent man but that does not mean it was wrong to bring the case. Our test is always whether there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction - it would be wholly wrong to only bring cases where we were guaranteed a conviction.

"At the first appeal, the Court of Appeal considered it to be a sound identification case, whilst at the second appeal the Court allowed the appeal on a very narrow point concerning the firearms discharge residue, which was not used this time, but ordered that a retrial should take place. The fact that the trial ran its full course confirms that although it has changed in detail, the circumstantial evidence in this case, which has been tested over and over again by the courts, was judged fit to be put before a jury."

  1. In total, the jury heard 48 statements from witnesses and around 32 appeared in person. The prosecution also called experts to address issues in relation to guns and fibres.
  2. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6088.
  3. The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution;
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute;
    • Preparing cases for court;
    • Presentation of cases at court;

    The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007.

    More about the CPS

    The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol